Deploying with Zeit Now

Deploying your GraphQL server to Zeit Now

Now is a service by Zeit that allows the deployment of an instance of Apollo Server, quickly providing a functional GraphQL endpoint.


Setting up the project

Deployment to Now for Node.js apps requires a package.json file to be present in the app’s root directory.

  "name": "graphqlservice",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "nodemon index.js"
  "dependencies": {
    "apollo-server": "^2.0.0-rc.5",
    "graphql": "^0.13.2",
    "nodemon": "^1.17.5"

Now looks for a start script to start the app. As long as that is in the package.json, the app should be able to start up.

Deploying with Now

Now offers multiple options for deploying projects.

Local Projects

If the Now CLI is installed, then running the now command from the root directory of the project should deploy the project.

$ now

The now command immediately deploys a server to the cloud and returns the hosted project link. After finishing, it should be possible to send a query to the GraphQL schema on now at <NOW_APP_NAME>

Manual GitHub deployment

If a GraphQL server project is publically available on GitHub, Now provides the ability to deploy straight from GitHub by calling the now command with the user/organization name and repository name in the format user/repository-name.

For example, to deploy Apollo’s graphql-server-example, the command would be:

$ now apollographql/graphql-server-example

The now command deploys right away and attempts to start the server. This specific example would fail though, due to missing environment variables. They can be added by following the section on environment variables.

Automatic GitHub deployment

Now supports automatic deployment from GitHub on pull requests.

To set up automatic deployment, visit and click on the “Setup Now” button.

After signing in with GitHub, the Now GitHub app can be added to any account or organization. Once installed, it’s possible to choose which repositories that Now can run on, allowing new deployments on Pull Requests.

now permissions setup

Setting environment variables

The graphql-server-example project requires environment variables to enable reporting to Apollo Engine. To deploy to Now with environment variables, the -e flag can be used followed by the variables like so:

$ now -e ENGINE_API_KEY=xxxxxxxxx apollographql/graphql-server-example

Deployed GraphQL Server

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